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How to make your job search strategic

10th March 2014

A young man I've been working with recently has just been rejected in the final stage of his dream job application. Now rejection is always tough to deal with, especially when you are young and wanted that job so badly and rejection is not the subject of this blog. However, his learning from the rejection deseves to be shared and widely applauded, as after a little soul searching, he is now researching and confidently preparing for his next steps that will get him closer to his dream job.  In other words, he is job searching strategically.

Often, my clients know that they are in the wrong job but find it harder to define the right job. Once I have helped them clarify their dreams, they then realise that they are still a long way from the dream job. The secret to getting there is to identify the right stepping stones. So, for everyone who thinks they do know what their dream job is and feels that it is still a long way away, here are some useful tasks that you can do right now to begin a longer term strategy to nail that dream role. 

First of all, always seek feedback from rejection to understand how far away you were from matching the criteria the recruiter is looking for. This is as simple as making a difficult phone call, always booked in advance: be ready to take notes and not always agree or enjoy what you might hear. There is far more help on seeking and using feedback in Chapter 4 of 'Nail That Job, the complete guide for the less-experienced jobseeker' 

 Now that you understand more about how your current experience, skills or qualifications let you down, the next step is to identify what other jobs or industries will help you develop those required experiences, skills or qualifications. It may be that you need more experience of that industry in a more junior role, it may be that you simply need longer experience at what you already do, or perhaps develop some additional skills in any job role at all that would give you more technical or service experiences. Perhaps working abroad in any role at all, but simply in a different country might help (especially beneficial in the travel/tourism industries) You might need to return to education to target a specific vocational or academic qualification.  Your  key question to lead your research is; What am I missing and how, where and which job will help me develop those skills, experiences or qualifications?

If you are a more mature returner to the labour market,  you will be pleasantly surprised to find that more careers movement means that recruiters are more used to looking for 'transferable skills.' That's recruiter jargon for finding evidence of skills learned in one job or task, that can be applied in different jobs, tasks or contexts. It is simply more common now to recruit people with experience of industry X for roles within industry Y. As a strategic job seeker, your job now is to target work that will give you the evidence that builds the gaps on your CV to get closer to your dream job.

Be prepared for it to take some time- you are the only person who can decide what your dream job is, why you want it so badly and how long you are prepared to work towards it. Once you have your target in your sights, enjoy the journey towards it, because all learning in every job, however far away from your dream, is always useful. if you would like any more help on clarifying your next  steps in your job search, just drop me an email to sian@nailthatjob.co.uk  Enjoy your strategic job search and best of luck. 

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